Photo courtesy of North American Bear Center (www.bear.org)

For the past two Decembers I have devoted a portion of the proceeds from my sales to Conservation Northwest, an organization that I feel very strongly about, and this December I am doing so again.

As I wrote last December, there is an entire world of deserving causes, but more and more I see the point of helping out in my own backyard...Conservation Northwest is helping out in mine.

All across the area Conservation Northwest's mission is to protect and connect the places and wildlife that keep the region's large ecosystems healthy and whole. I have come to know more about Conservation Northwest's specific projects in the past two years, and am more and more impressed with their priorities, coalition building, and tenacity. This year they launched an initiative which "seeks to maintain an important habitat connection between the Cascades and Rockies by protecting wild places and sustaining working ranches and jobs in the woods in the Columbia Highlands region of northeast Washington."


I have hiked in the Kettle Range of the Columbia Highlands north of my home in Spokane. At one point early into a two-day hike I remember seeing the path far ahead on the side of a steep hill and having the sinking feeling that I would never be able to make it, but it was really just one step at a time to the next summit and the most amazing view. It was worth the effort many times over and the hike was a turning point for me; I look back on that moment and believe anything is possible if taken one step at a time.


The Columbia Highlands is home and migratory stop-over for a range of creatures, including grizzly bear, mountain caribou, one of Washington's two confirmed wolf packs, lynx, wolverine, elk, mule deer, black bear, moose, pine marten, bull trout, cougar and many species of birds and plants.

The rare white-headed woodpecker, George Ostertag photo

My interest in supporting Conservation Northwest all started with the grizzly bear, which I have loved for as long as I can remember. CNW estimates that there are fewer than ten in the North Cascades of Washington. Although progress is at a political standstill right now, CNW's plan is to boost this critically endangered population with young bears from where grizzlies are more numerous. Conservation Northwest, you work for the grizzly bear, and I will work for you!

Grizzly bear cub, Suzann Julien/iStockphoto

This December my goal is to raise $450 for CNW. I don't have that money to pull from a bank account, but by putting aside 25% of my profits this month, with your help I know I can make a difference...one step at a time.

Please shop from any of my stores at denisebrain.com

Pine marten, photo courtesy of wildernessclassroom.com

For further information about Conservation Northwest:

Conservation Northwest website
Conservation Northwest on Facebook
Multi-media tour of the Columbia Highlands

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